Reds lead National League in home runs in June
ATLANTA -- Julio Teheran's 1.78 ERA in four career starts for the Atlanta Braves against the Cincinnati Reds is his lowest against any National League team.
Teheran, though, will be challenged to do a better job of not giving up home runs than he has done lately as he tries to win consecutive games for the first time this season Tuesday night against the Reds at Turner Field.
Teheran (2-6) allowed just eight hits over two starts on a California road trip by the Braves, but five were home runs.
The 12 homers tie him for sixth-worst in the National League and puts him on pace to surpass the career-worst 27 he allowed in 2015.
That's bad news against the Reds, who lead the NL with 19 homers in June.
The good news, though, is that the three homers Teheran gave up in a loss to the Dodgers in Los Angeles and the two he surrendered in a victory at San Diego all came with the bases empty.
"It doesn't bother me. Solo homers are just one run," interim manager Brian Snitker said. "It's nothing we've talked about. No red flags have gone off."
Opponents are batting just .203 -- tied for sixth-best in the NL -- and Teheran's ERA is 2.85 despite the recent homer binge.
"He's our ace. We lean on him a lot," Snitker said.
The Braves certainly need a strong outing from Teheran after giving up 30 runs while losing their last three games, falling to 18-45 overall and 7-26 at home.
The victim of poor run support, Teheran is winless at home this season and Reds starter Brandon Finnegan won't be easy for the Braves to capitalize against offensively.
Finnegan has gone at least 6 1/3 innings in his past four outings, including a complete game against the Dodgers, and leads the Reds with seven quality starts in 13 games despite a 2-4 record.
Finnegan, acquired by the Reds as part of the Johnny Cueto deal with Kansas City last season, got a no-decision in his most recent start, giving up five hits and two runs over seven innings against the Cardinals while lowering his ERA to 3.77.
"He's a competitor, and he wears the competitiveness on his sleeve, but he doesn't let it affect his ability to make good pitches," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He's built a lot of confidence in me and the coaching staff, and I think in his teammates as well. He gets after it. He competes."
More used to being playoff contenders, the Braves and Reds have the worst records in the National League as they rebuild for the future.
The Reds (25-39) have at least shown improvement lately, going 10-6 after an 11-game losing streak. They have won eight of their past 12.
Finnegan, 22, made his major league debut just months after being the 17th overall pick in the 2014 draft and got his first professional victory for the Royals in the American League Divisional Series against the New York Yankees.
Teheran is still just 25 despite 42 career wins for the Braves, who have refused at least so far to make him one of their trade chips.
The Braves need a hitter, but Teheran and his team-friendly long-term contract are hard to trade unless the offer in overwhelming.